For LeAnnea Taylor/ESOP:
I am writing to share with you that ESOP and the “Restoring Stability Program” helped us immensely at a very critical time for us. I had been laid off at work, our mortgage payments had gotten two to three months behind, and we were not making much progress with our mortgage company in finding a solution to the reality of possible foreclosure. A co-worker had mentioned the Restoring Stability Program to me and after visiting the program’s website, my wife and I decided to apply.
We were both extremely impressed with the online application process, the response time, availability and willingness to answer our numerous questions by our ESOP counselor, LeAnnea. We were also impressed with the promptness of the processing of our application as well as with the guidance and support provided by LeAnnea every step of the way. Even after our participation in the program was completed, she has continued to provide us with guidance and direction.
The Restoring Stability Program provided the much-needed financial assistance which allowed me to stabilize our finances and eventually, being able to pay our mortgage when I got another job. Without this program and LeAnnea’s assistance, we are very much aware that there was a greater possibility that our home would have been indeed foreclosed.
Thanks again for all your help!!
Mike in Sidney, OH
You truly are a blessing and you are very appreciated by me and my family. I know jobs are jobs, but at times, there are remarkable people that do them and you are one of those people. Thank you so much for the time and energy you have dedicated to helping us save our home.”
Working with Staci and Bev at the Chillicothe office has been such a blessing to me. They are so very dedicated to what they are doing. Their compassion and understanding of those they are trying to help is extraordinary and I feel they should be commended daily for their efforts. No matter how busy they are, they always take the time for a phone call or to answer an email to help in keeping applicants up to date on the case. I may have given up hope had it not been for the dedication and hard work these two have shown me. They truly are remarkable.
New Richmond, OH
So, by the grace of God you have saved our home and we can breathe for a month or so whilst we continue to get back on top!
I thank God for bringing you to us! We really appreciate all you’ve done! There’s no words I can describe how thankful we are
– Stefany Noble
Thank you so much for all your help. Of all the people that I’ve to deal with ove the past several months, you were the only one that truly made me feel like I had hope and that someone did care. I can’t thank you enough and will never forget what you’ve done.
The staff at ESOP were extremely helpful and informative throughout the process of saving my home. Their knowledge, patience and persistence in doing whatever they could to help will not be forgotten and should not go unnoticed. I am very grateful for all they have done.
– Kelley Wenkle ,
The serves that Erin Grey and the ESOP organization did for me is one that I couldn't say thank you enough. I contacted ESOP to see if they could assist me with my situation. When I contacted the organization I was three months behind on my mortgage and didn't want to lose my home. With all the paper work that was need Erin Grey made sure that everything was in line and stayed on top of everything with me and the underwriters so the situation would be resolved. In June I received a phone call from Erin Grey to tell me that I had been approved for assists with my home mortgage. Thanks to Erin Grey and her team I can sleep peaceful at home; yes my HOME.
Erin was kind and courteous to us throughout the process and answered our questions. She was very thorough in gathering the information we needed to apply for the grant program, kept us updated, and guided us through the entire process.Thank you Erin and ESOP!
Erin is a dedicated hard worker that gets the job done. She went the extra mile for me. She worked on my lender to get him to be a provider and that wasn't an easy task. She did not give up until the job was done and he was enrolled in the program.
For the past 20 months, our family was struck with 3 tragedies. We lost 3 elderly parents within months from each other as a result of illness, cancer and old age where one simply could not live without the love of their lives. Along with that, my son Andy lost his job during the worst periods. Short time later, his wife lost her job and became sick and required several hospitalization and most recently treated in rehab.
All this took its toll. Bills did not change but income was tremendously impacted and resulted in our not being able to pay our mortgage. Found out that we were going to lose our house. BUT a friend told us about ESOP. We went online to understand more what that was all about and got a call from this pleasant voice and comforting words of a Ms Erin Gray. Could there really be kind people left in this world? Is it possible God heard our prayers to send an angel? I think yes, Ms Erin explained to us what the program was about and how she can help us. Our despair turned around to become hope. Working with Ms Gray seems to show us to the road where darkness could become bright future. We will no doubt tell our story as we go through our process and each day we see progress we will strengthen our belief in your program.
May God bless you and the leaders that monitor this program as you help those honest people like us who were about to give up on life.
When I am asked how this program has helped me and my family, I honestly can not respond with words. I well up with tears and cry until I am able to catch my breathe again. When I lost my job of seven years, I was scared. Terrified actually. I was a single mother with two special needs children and I had never been unemployed in my life (and I am over 40 years old.) Not only had I lost my major source of income, I had lost insurance and stability as I knew it. So, I did not know what to do. Outside of having a mortgage payment and utilities, my house needed some repairs. I was paying on numerous doctor bills as both my children had recent hospitalizations. On top of of financial worries, I was trying to process the loss of my life as I knew it. I felt like a failure as I had no idea how to move on. I worried most that I would loose my house and the thought of uprooting my two young boys to a place they didn't know was almost unbearable to me. They both have special needs and had been through enough. I was pretty sure that I would get employment at some point as I have a college education and excellent work history. However, I also knew that it would take a long time for me to earn what I had been earning at my previous employment. I was right. I got behind on my mortgage (and other bills) and started receiving foreclosure notices from my lender. I had depleted my savings. My sons and I have a lot of support from friends and family and they helped us alot in many ways. But continuing to take money from them was not the right thing to do. I did begin to draw unemployment, and stretched it as far as I could. I thought I was fighting a no win battle and tried to become ready to surrender the house.
Then, a very good friend of mine suggested I call ESOP for help. And quite honestly I was reluctant. I had been trying to get a loan modification but was running up against numerous obstacles. I thought it was hopeless. I was very tired of fighting this battle. I needed to use my energy to take care of my children who were too young to know what was going on. Fortunately, my friend kept encouraging me that it was at least worth a try to call. I agreed but knew in my heart that I was absolutely out of options.
Needless to say, ESOP helped me get the mortgage assistance I needed to save my house. Brittany was very helpful and non-judgemental which meant alot me. Since receiving the Restoring Stability grant, I have been able to start paying my sons' medical bills make the needed repairs on the home. I also have obtained part-time employment which has helped. However, without the grant, my part-time job would not be enough to pay the mortgage. I do now, though, have time to "re-group." In addition to the financial help I am receiving, I have "peace of mind" that my children have a stable place to come home too. Both my sons are on-going patients at Nationwide Children's Hospital and there are no words that can accurately describe the feeling of being able to bring them back from the hospital to the home they know and love. I am so grateful for the assistance and the opportunity to use my energy to take care of my children and not have to focus it on worrying about having a place to live. Thank You. I am so grateful and relieved I did not have to ride this storm out alone.
ESOP Success Story: Luvonia Menefee
When Livonia Menefee’s monthly mortgage payment jumped from $600 to $1400 in a matter of months, she felt she had nowhere to turn. She tried contacting her lender, Litton Loan Servicing, but received no response. Ms. Menefee had recently experienced several devastating losses—a divorce, and the loss of her daughter—and she couldn’t bear the thought of losing her home as well. She became depressed, and stopped paying her bills altogether, allowing the home to slip into foreclosure. “At first I had I real bad attitude,” Ms. Menefee says. But fortunately, things were about to change for her.
Soon after her home had gone into foreclosure, Ms. Menefee’s brother-in-law read about ESOP in a newspaper article, and encouraged her to call the organization. Ms. Menefee contacted ESOP and attended orientation, where she met with intake specialists to discuss her situation. Because ESOP did not have a formal agreement with Litton at the time, it was uncertain how much could be done to save her home, but ESOP’s counselors assured her they would do everything they could.
Shortly after her first visit to ESOP, Ms. Menefee took an active role in ESOP’s campaign for a fair lending agreement with Litton Loan Servicing. She was determined not to lose her home, on top of everything else. As a result of Ms. Menefee’s hard work in collaboration with ESOP staff and leaders, Litton CEO Larry Litton signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ESOP in 2007, which led to the establishment of a formal fair lending agreement with the loan servicer. After this agreement was reached, ESOP was able to negotiate an affordable modification to Ms. Menefee’s loan, which included a fixed interest rate and monthly payments of about $750, which includes taxes and insurance.
Since receiving her modification, Ms. Menefee feels like she has a new life. “I can laugh again,” she says. Ms. Menefee is still an active participant in many of ESOP’s events and campaigns, and couldn’t be more pleased with her experience at ESOP. Her advice to homeowners facing foreclosure is to begin acting immediately, rather than waiting, as she did, until it was almost too late. “Don’t wait,” she says. “Go to ESOP.”
ESOP Success Story: Maria Rodriguez
Maria Rodriguez came to ESOP for assistance in January of 2007, when her mortgage with Litton Loan Servicing went into foreclosure. She and her husband, Felipe, had fallen behind on their mortgage when he sustained a serious injury at work, and were unable to catch up after missing one monthly payment. When Litton began sending numerous letters to Ms. Rodriguez’s house, and calling her at all hours of the day and night, she began to feel hopeless, and was tempted to walk away from her home, as many of her neighbors had already done.
When Ms. Rodriguez came to ESOP’s orientation session, she filled out a document known as a Hot Spot Card, which ESOP uses to communicate with lending companies, and brought along all of the necessary financial documents that ESOP requires. Because ESOP already had a partnership in place with Litton, the process was relatively simple from there, and in less than a week, all of the phone calls and letters stopped completely.
After stopping the letters and phone calls to Ms. Rodriguez’s house, ESOP staff began negotiations with Litton’s loss mitigation department. During this time, Ms. Rodriguez faithfully came to ESOP’s office each week, providing the necessary financial updates and documentation to prove that she could in fact afford the home. She also began to work part time as a baker in order to support her husband’s income, and continued to save her money each month to be used toward a down payment on a new mortgage.
Finally, after months of hard work and negotiation on ESOP and Ms. Rodriguez’s behalf, Litton came through with a modification that would reduce Ms. Rodriguez’s interest from a 13% adjustable rate to a 7.5% fixed rate. Her monthly payment now includes taxes and insurance, and will remain unchanged for the life of the loan. Ms. Rodriguez was able to use the money she had saved to make the down payment on her modification, and with the help of ESOP, she also obtained rescue funds from Cuyahoga County that contributed to this payment. “I cried when I found out,” she said, referring to the news that she would be able to keep her home. “I slept well for the first time in months.”
Just recently, Ms. Rodriguez had the opportunity to meet with Litton Loan Servicing CEO Larry Litton, and describes him as a “very caring person.” She remains committed to helping ESOP in future organizing efforts, and recommends ESOP to anyone who is currently facing foreclosure.